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OAK@COL: White induces double play to escape trouble

DENVER -- Somebody finally proved that Coors Field didn't have to be a pitcher's worst nightmare. Unfortunately for the Rockies, that somebody was wearing green and yellow.

Oakland starter Jarrod Parker delivered one of the finer performances seen at 20th and Blake this year, surrendering just three hits in seven innings as the A's finished a sweep of the Rockies with an 8-2 win Thursday afternoon.

"He was terrific," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. "He pitched extremely well and we could do very little with it."

The loss makes it eight straight for the Rockies, the longest such streak of their season. And things are going to only get harder, with trips to Detroit, Philadelphia and Texas coming up.

"Nobody likes losing," said right fielder Michael Cuddyer. "Everybody is frustrated and angry, no doubt about that. But that doesn't mean you quit. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way. We still have 90-plus games. The season is not going to stop for us."

In Parker's seven innings of work, the Rockies reached second base just twice. They nicked into Oakland's lead with two runs in the ninth off Brian Fuentes -- a solo shot from Marco Scutaro and a Tyler Colvin RBI double -- but it was too little, too late. "You have to play all 27 outs," Scutaro said. "You have to go out there and keep doing your thing, game's not over yet. You can't throw at-bats away."

Rockies starter Alex White left the game after four innings when a blister sprung up on his right middle finger, cause for concern for Tracy. White threw 83 pitches and surrendered four runs, two of which were earned.

"Everything's fine," said White, who had a band-aid on the tip of his finger. "Tracy was a little bit worried about it, but I'm not sure why they pulled me. I wanted to keep pitching, but things happen and I can't change it."

With one out in the second, Oakland's Brandon Moss tattooed a double off the wall in right and advanced to third on a Kurt Suzuki single. Moss and Suzuki scored when Colorado third baseman Jordan Pacheco made a throwing error while trying to gun down Adam Rosales at first.

The third inning followed a similar script. With two men on, Moss again doubled to right field to plate Josh Reddick, who started the frame with a double of his own. Seth Smith, the beneficiary of a four-pitch walk, scored when Cuddyer had the ball slip out of his glove on a throwing attempt. Moss advanced to third on the error.

"Alex had his moments, back and forth," Tracy said. "When he was good, he was throwing strikes early, opening the door for his split-finger. We made the one throwing error that cost us. When he got off, it's ball one and ball two, and some of the lefties got him."

Parker had six strikeouts, none bigger than when he got Carlos Gonzalez to whiff at a changeup to end the sixth inning with two on. It was Gonzalez's second of the game and fifth in the last two ballgames. He had three in the opening game against Oakland on June 12.

The sweep at the hands of Oakland stings -- "A dreadful homestand," Tracy said -- but the finale provided a blueprint for the Rockies to follow. Most of Parker's effectiveness could be credited to his high strike percentage and his ability to find the zone early in the count.

"It was a game similar to the C.J. Wilson game in that he threw strikes with all his pitches, had a real good changeup, his slider was very effective because it was a strike out of the hand and a ball once it reached the plate," Tracy said. "The number of first-pitch strikes he threw was big."

Parker also made sure to keep the ball out of the thin Colorado air.

"I was able to just keep the ball down," Parker said. "You can't get hurt on the ground, and I think we went in with a great game plan and were able to execute it."

The two runs were a stark contrast to what the Rockies, who lead the National League in runs, are used to. In fact, what made the previous two losses so frustrating was the sheer amount of runs scored: On Tuesday, starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie was handed a 4-0 lead after the first inning but coughed it up in an 8-5 loss. Rafael Betancourt's blown save Wednesday night -- the Rockies entered the top of the ninth with a one-run lead -- resulted in a 10-8 loss, a game that saw Todd Helton hit a grand slam and Cuddyer smack two home runs.

"We've got a long road [trip] coming up," Tracy said. "Hopefully some of the things that are not right will be much better when we come back."

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